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Exclusive: ‘American Idol’s’ Rachel Hale discusses her career

American Idol Season 12 Top 20 Female finalist Rachel Hale is ready for the road ahead. Although she was eliminated before the live shows, she feels secure in the judges decision and she will continue to touch hearts with her music. Hale is from Prescott, Arkansas but currently resides in Nashville, TN. The judges named her the “happiest contestant” because she was always smiling. She currently attends Belmont University as a senior songwriting major. Rachel Hale is just a small town girl who wants to share her music with the world, and she aims to do just that.

How long have you been singing?

I knew I loved to sing when I was three years old, but I started taking voice lessons and performing at ten.

What was it like the first time you stepped in front of the judges?

I was SO excited to meet them!! They are all such talented people, and I was beyond ecstatic to get to perform for them!

Who were your influences growing up?

Growing up, I listened to a LOT of different types of music. I always loved listening to Aretha Franklin, Rachael Lampa, Martina McBride, and Celine Dion. Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” has always been one of my favorite songs, and it inspired me to begin writing my own songs. In my home, my mom would play a lot of the Rolling Stones, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Kathy Troccoli, Rebecca St. James, and The Judds. Whenever I would ride with my dad in his car, we listened to either the Gaithers, Norah Jones, Elvis Presley, or Johnny Cash. My older brother introduced me to Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Journey, ACDC, and Bon Jovi. Every single one of these artists have had a huge influence on my sound.

What was going through your head when you got eliminated?

I really had a peace about everything! I know this may sound unbelievable, but I left feeling happy and inspired! I made it very far in the competition, and I felt, I left on a high note. The last song I sang, “Nothing But the Water (I)” is a completely acapella song by Grace Potter. Thus, for the show, I arranged the entire background music: harmonica, bass guitar, “clapping” drum loop, etc. I really felt that I got to show America EXACTLY who I am as an artist, and I am excited that I had the opportunity to do that! American Idol has been an overall positive experience, and I left aiming to dream bigger and reach higher than ever before!

Do you have anything exciting in the works? What are your plans for the future?

I have A LOT of exciting things in the works! Right now, I’m recording my version of “Nothing But the Water (I)” to release on iTunes. I am also recording new original music to be released soon! My plans for the future are to just keep writing, singing, and performing.

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